One Way Out, by Michele Albert

>> Monday, April 18, 2005

Ever since I read Getting Her Man and Off Limits, I've been eagerly anticipating Michele Albert's latest, One Way Out (excerpt).

One heated rivalry. One Dangerous Find: Sexy fossil hunter Cassie Ashton and hunky by-the-book paleontologist Alex Martinelli are sworn enemies. She thinks he's a snooty Ph.D. with a womanizing streak (and denies his dangerously rugged appeal). He thinks she's just in it for the money (and pretends he doesn't notice those legs). Their legendary sparring is the source of much gossip across the rocky canyons of Wyoming, where they compete for discoveries. Yet the chemistry between them is blistering. To their dismay, Cassie and Alex are forced to team up to protect Cassie's latest discovery -- a priceless prehistoric skeleton. For it quickly becomes clear that someone will stop at nothing to steal it. Thrown together in the face of danger, the two rivals try to fight their passionate, long-suppressed attraction. But sometimes, when you're on the run and falling in love, there's only one way out...
One Way Out was a good read, but I had some problems with it that I had never had with this author's books before. Still, what was good was great, so this is still a B.

Ms. Albert's strength is in her characters. They always feel like real, grown-up people, *modern*, grown-up people, especially her heroines. Their issues are always more believable and complex than those simplistic neuroses that so often pass for characterization. This was the case in this particular book, too.

I very much enjoyed both Cassie and Alex. I really liked Cassie's no-nonsense toughness, and Alex was great as a tortured character hiding this under a charmer facade. I especially appreciated something that's I haven't seen much in romance novels: Alex had been pretty promiscuous in the past, but instead of using this as a way of showing how sexy and virile he was, Ms. Albert had Cassie being a bit disgusted by it, teasing him about being a man-slut and not being able to keep it zipped.

The book's plot was interesting, too. I loved reading about the infant T-Rex and the whole adventure thing that developed was fun. What was nicest was that for once, the protagonists plans don't go to hell in a handbasket as soon as possible ;-)

And now for the negative. It's strange, because I haven't seen anyone complain about this in all the reviews I've read, but to me, the book felt kind of... shallow, I guess. I'm not sure how to describe it. It felt as if the book was over when it had just began to get started. Reading it felt as if I were skimming as fast as I could, even though I was reading it word by word (I started consciously doing this the minute I noticed, and it didn't improve matters). This bothered me the most in the romance, as I never really *felt* the whole falling in love process. Probably just me, but I simply didn't enjoy this one as much as I felt I could have enjoyed it.

In spite of this, I'd still recommend One Way Out and I'll keep Michele Albert in my auto-buy list. She's one of the very few authors who've never really disappointed me so far.


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